Poetry

Poetry

The color of the universe

Last week a mathematician said green
glow, aquamarine—
and I suppose rare parrots
or the searing rise of rice,
aurora as it reels around the poles.

This week the man says oops,
a miscalculation:
the universe is amber—
peach hair, cantaloupe,
a squeal, the yellow cart of dawn
pulled into day.

Show me the math, show me
equations in green, gold, vermilion, plum—
whatever comes out of the dark
around us and the sun and all
the sons and daughters of the stars—
the universe a crystal, charmed,
worn in the hollow of God’s throat
and warmed.



Votive stations

Silence is misery, said a friend
in a casual comment on the phone.
Elizabeth spent three days with no one
to interrupt her but her own fears.
Lulls during which she noticed
the buzz and pop, resting from the hike
on a stone. Her retreat intended
to evade noise, but she found
the clawing of forest murder
and distant yelps. That’s when
she saw a tree, already turned
the color of flame against the others’
ordinary green, like the great voice
of one who had to speak. Not a word
for three days, unable to resist
the conversation released within.
Slow sun upon a single tree
that stands without explanation
on the edge of the meadow
with red leaves, a hawk glides above
the landscape of pines
between silence and speech.

Sweet psalm

Good lost word, succor.
As an infant mouth pulls
sweet need from the breast.
Sucker: that child,
or a loser. Or a gull—
someone fooled. Gull’s
a sea grace too, a diving
shelter wing. Sucker:
sweet on a stick. Sticky.

Dive and warm me, sweet
Grace. Feed me, help me.
Don’t fool me, don’t lose me.
Be my succor. Stick to me.

For they shall be comforted

This oak took its bad news to the heart.
Lightning struck two springs ago
as I snored between my flashing walls.

Now scallops of orange fungus layer
the fissured bark. Spider sacs trailing
ragged webs streak the splinters like comets.

I have lost someone. Her eyes flash
among the decaying leaves. I hear
her small hands fluttering in the creek.

Grieve me, she calls. Split your heart
with my face. There is nothing else
I can do. I pull up a broken branch. I sit.





The pastor’s wife considers drought

Faux thunder haunts my incoherent garden.
My chervil withers. The lettuce bolts.
Only rosemary’s roots remember rain.

Out by the road I find a young possum—
swollen—the fire ants celebrating, while
under the live oak resurrection ferns tarry.

Must I weigh the excellence of weeds—
how they thrive in their congregation—
thistle, wire grass, groundsel, nettle?